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April 2012

Who is the Walrus?

The Beatles were famous for, among other things, the orchestrated, sophisticated, high-concept production that resulted from the partnership of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and producer George Martin. You might recall that George Martin had been with EMI Classical, and had produced classical music (string quartets and the like) prior to his introduction to The Beatles. This explains the introduction of details like the string quartet in Eleanor Rigby and the brass band in Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite. But of all the great, brand-distinctive work of Sirs Paul, John, and George, The Beatles’ best-orchestrated creation of all was…

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Quick, before the piano burns down.

In one of my past lives, I was a music theory and composition major. One of the experimental pieces we studied was a composition for prepared piano, in which the piano was prepared by having five gallons of kerosine poured into and lit. The tempo marking on the piece was, “as fast as you can before the piano burns down.” That has stayed with me, even as many more practical facts and ideas have slipped from my memory. A couple years later, I worked in the restaurant business. In that business, most of your inventory (food and ingredients) become obsolete…

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